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2019-2020 Incoming Student Guide

Welcome to Vanderbilt! Below are topics that will ease your transition to graduate school.

Important Events and Deadlines

Orientation Events:

  • August 13–19: International Student Orientation – contact ISSS for information
  • August 14: Teaching Assistant Orientation – Register
  • August 19: Graduate School Orientation 9:45 am - 1 pm  – Register* (mandatory)
  • August 22: First Day of Classes

Important Deadlines:

 * Register for Orientation by noon, Friday, August 9th, if you would like to choose a lunch option, including selections for those with dietary restrictions.

New Graduate Student Information

  1. Transcripts, GRE, and TOEFL Records. Please note that your admission is contingent upon Vanderbilt’s Office of the University Registrar receiving an official and final transcript with all previously earned degree(s) posted.  Also, Vanderbilt must electronically receive your official GRE and TOEFL scores from Educational Testing Service, or in lieu of TOEFL, official IELTS scores from International English Language Testing System.  These items must be received by Vanderbilt no later than August  31, 2019. How to submit your Transcript, GRE, and TOEFL records.

  2. Graduate School Orientation 2019. Mandatory Graduate School Orientation will be held Monday, August 19 9:45 am to 1 pm in the Student Life Center. Please register.

  3. Registration. Consult with your advisor and department and then register through YES (Your Enrollment Services - Vanderbilt's Online enrollment system).

  4. Vanderbilt ID Card. You can obtain a Vanderbilt ID from the Card Services Office. Bring a Photo ID! Please try to pick up your ID before Graduate Student Orientation for faster check-in!

  5. Finances. Notification of charges posted by August 1st will be sent electronically. Payment is due August 31st for any charges not covered by departmental grants, awards, and/or financial aid. Payments can be made online through the Office of Student Accounts. Throughout your stay at Vanderbilt charges for parking permits, traffic fines, overdue books, etc. will be posted to this account. Please check it regularly to avoid late fees.
    Note: All students must complete and submit at Student Account Agreement Form regardless of funding found in the YES portal.

  6. Health Insurance. All Graduate School students who are registered for four or more credit hours, or who are actively enrolled in research courses that are designated as full-time enrollment, are required to be covered by health insurance. Students must be covered by either (a) the Vanderbilt Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or (b) a policy of the student’s choice that provides comparable coverage. Information about Vanderbilt’s 12-month student insurance policy is available at the Gallagher Student Insurance Website. Coverage is from August 12, 2019 through August 11, 2020.

    Students who meet the eligibility requirements are automatically enrolled in and billed for SHIP. Insured students must actively attend classes for at least the first 31 days after the date for which coverage is purchased to remain enrolled.

    The annual premium is $3,650.  Graduate and professional students are enrolled for annual coverage, but the annual premium is billed to your student account equally over the fall and spring semesters ($1,825 each semester).

    All domestic students who wish to waive coverage are required to complete an online waiver form at the beginning of each academic year by the waiver deadline, August 1, 2019 .  International students are not eligible to waive coverage; enrollment in SHIP is mandatory.

    Waiver and Verification Process.  If domestic students are currently enrolled in a health insurance plan that meets or exceeds the SHIP offered through Vanderbilt University and do not wish to enroll in the student plan, you must complete the online waiver form on the Gallagher website documenting other insurance information no later than August 1, 2019.   In order to waive coverage, your current insurance plan must:

    • Be fully compliant with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and all state and federal mandates
    • Be underwritten by an insurance and claims company based in the United States
    • Provide access to local doctors, specialists, hospitals and other health care providers in the Vanderbilt University area
    • Cover accident and sickness at a minimum of 80% with no lifetime maximum (i.e., unlimited benefit) per accident or sickness
    • Cover inpatient and outpatient hospital expenses, outpatient surgical expenses, inpatient and outpatient mental health, prescription drugs, laboratory tests and x-rays, physical therapy, maternity and home health care
    • Must provide coverage for the period of August 12, 2019 to August 11, 2020

    After submission, most waivers will be verified within 24-48 hours and upon verification, an email notification will be sent to the email address submitted on the form informing you of the acceptance or denial of the waiver.  If your waiver is denied, the email will explain the reason for the denial and provide instructions on how to revise and resubmit your form and any applicable supporting documentation.  Failure to submit supporting documentation by the deadline will result in your automatic enrollment in SHIP.

    For additional information on coverage, co-payments, termination of coverage, contact information, and more, review the FAQ for Vanderbilt University Graduate Students 2019-2020 Student Health Insurance Plan.

  7. International Students. If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States you should have received an International Student Financial Statement from International Student and Scholar Services. The University cannot issue a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) to be used to apply for a visa to enter the United States until the International Student Financial Statement has been satisfactorily completed and returned to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

    New International Student Orientation for graduate and professional students will begin on Monday, August 12, 2019 and will end on Saturday, August 17. Check-In will start at 8:00 a.m. in the Student Life Center. For more information, please see this website.  Prior to your arrival, please complete the items on the following checklist, which includes completing the Pre-Arrival Form and registering for a mandatory Immigration Check-In session if you will be arriving before or after August 13. For questions regarding orientation, contact ISSS at or (615) 322-2753.

    If you are receiving a graduate research or teaching assistantship or a stipend from Vanderbilt you must complete a Glacier profile, to create an international tax record. Your employer will request access on your behalf to Vanderbilt’s international tax system by completing the online form which is available in the Glacier database. For students, the answer is ‘NO’ to the “Are you requesting a PHN (placeholder number)?” question. The PHN & Glacier access request form is available at here.

    You will receive an email with Glacier access instructions from Please contact the Vanderbilt International Tax Office (ITO) with any questions you have regarding the Glacier software,

    International Students who obtain on-campus employment or who will also work as a Graduate Research or Teaching Assistant should speak with their hiring department about the employment forms that must be completed.

  8. Form I-9. All Vanderbilt students who will be employed by the university must complete federal form I-9 on or before the first day of work for pay. Steps to complete the I-9: Submit a request to receive the I9, fill out Section 1 which you will receive by email from prior to your first day, on or before your first day go to the HR office with the proper documents to finish the I-9.

  9. Medical Information. Please complete the Graduate Immunization Requirements Form as soon as possible. This must be submitted by May 15. See page 5 of the form for submission instructions.

  10. Disability Services. If you have a disability and need an accommodation, please contact the Student Access Services Center, 110 21st Avenue South, at (615) 343-9727.

  11. Email. Email Services are provided to all students at Vanderbilt. You will receive an email from with instructions for activating your VUnet ID and email. See the Vanderbilt IT website for support.

  12. Housing. On-campus housing for Vanderbilt graduate and professional students is presently unavailable and incoming graduate students cannot be accommodated in on-campus housing facilities. If you are interested in locating private, off-campus apartments or rooms, please refer to Vanderbilt’s Off-campus Referral Service. This website includes listings from landlords looking for tenants, as well as from students looking for roommates.

  13. Parking. Parking permits are required for motor vehicles parked on campus at any time. Please request your virtual permit online or if you would like to set up monthly recurring charges you must go in person to the VUPS Parking Services office located at 2800 Vanderbilt Place.

  14. Transfer Credit. If you intend to transfer graduate credit from a previously attended institution, your Vanderbilt department or program must submit a formal request to the Graduate School, as described in the Graduate School Catalog  (see page 33). Some departments do not process transfer credits until after the successful completion of at least one semester of coursework.

  15. Teaching Assistant Orientation. To assist new Teaching Assistants (TA) as they prepare for their duties, the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching is offering its annual Teaching Assistant Orientation on Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Please register for this event no later than Friday, August 9, 2019. For more information and to register for the orientation, please see the CFT website.

    Incoming international graduate students who are not native speakers of English or who have not completed a baccalaureate degree at an institution where English is the principal language of instruction should plan to undergo a language evaluation, particularly if they will be a teaching assistant during the 2019-20 academic year. Please see the following website for more information.

  16. Academic Calendars. See the University Academic Calendar and the Graduate School Academic Calendar

  17. FAFSA Application. If necessary see the FAFSA Application here.

  18. Getting Around. Maps of: Nashville; Vanderbilt campus; hotels; restaurants; shopping . All Vanderbilt students have access to the Nashville WeGo buses for free with thier VUID.

  19. Student Services. Exhaustive list of resources of all students, Student Services

Sent to new incoming students in May 2019, the Incoming Student Orientation Letter gathers the information above into one document. 

The 2018-2019 New Student Orientation Program provides an overview of student services, organizations, and centers with basic description and contact information.  (2019-2020 Orientation Program available in August)


FirstGen Success Program

Were you the first generation in your family to attend college? If so, we invite you to participate in a new program during your first year here.  We recognize that graduate school may present additional and unique adjustments for first generation students.  Beginning this fall, the Graduate School is initiating a program called FirstGen Success, which will create small discussion groups with faculty mentors (who were also first generation in their families to attend college), and offer opportunities for community-building and professional development.

Several times a semester, we’ll bring the participants together for small group discussions, social gatherings, special speakers, or larger group events with the full cohort.  You’ll receive a copy of the book 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School: Perverse Professional Lessons for Graduate Students, which will serve as a springboard for discussion.

If you are interested in being part of this program, please complete this form.


Student Accountability

The Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity requires all incoming graduate and professional students to complete educational modules.  Students should receive an email from the Office of the Dean of Students, prompting them to complete these online modules:

  • Sexual Assault Prevention for Graduate students
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for Students
  • Protecting Youth
  • Campus Safety for Students (optional)

More information on these online education programs, including how to access the modules in YES, can be found on the Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity's website.


Responsible Conduct of Research

As a premier academic and research institution, Vanderbilt University has an obligation to model, teach and actively promote the responsible conduct of research in scholarship and science. Research integrity is fundamental to good research and crosses all disciplines and areas of focus.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) require that all those engaged in either NIH- or NSF-funded research must also be educated in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Vanderbilt has developed programs to meet these requirements and to ensure that its students, faculty and staff, as appropriate, understand the issues surrounding the RCR, and their obligations as individuals and members of the larger research community.

All new graduate students are required to take the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course for their discipline during their first semester of study. Some are also required to participate in additional discussion-based RCR education, prior to completing their degrees. Each department has defined that discussion-based program for its students, based on the specific disciplines. To find out more about your department’s requirements, please check with your department chairman or director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

Learn how to enroll and register for the course on the RCR website.


Intellectual Property

Ownership of Technology or Intellectual Property is governed by the Vanderbilt Policy on Technology and Literary Artistic Works (PTLA).  As defined in this policy, technology includes new ideas like inventions, computer software programs and select other authored works. To learn more about the ownership of student-developed intellectual property rights, review the FAQ for Intellectual Property Issues Related to Student Activities or contact the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization with questions.  A complete list of policies is available on the CTTC website.


Questions?  Contact Information

For general questions, please contact the Graduate School.

To contact your academic program office, please click here.